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March - 2017 | Volume - 59 | Issue - 03 | ₹ 15




Every time I received the Salesian Bulletin I went straight to the page on the Gospel Stories. I was sure to find some new way of presenting an episode or a parable. I am glad that the book is being published. Mrs. Magdalene, Housewife, Chennai

Wonderful stories! We were waiting for someone to make the Gospels lively, as they probably were, when Jesus himself lived, spoke and related to people. There is a marked importance given to women and to the poor. The apostles appear, not already as saints, but in their natural human characteristics. Mr. Jesuraj, Counsellor and Trainer, Madurai

The author seems to have put in a lot of theological, philosophical and social ideas into these stories. One may agree or disagree with them, but they are interesting and worth considering seriously.

These stories have created in me a greater love for the persons of the Gospels such as the apostles and other disciples. Our Lady and St. Joseph also come alive in them. I use them for my meditations once in a while.

Fr. Joseph P, Parish Minister, Sydney, Australia

Ms. Jacintha, Secular Religious, Kolkata

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MARCH 2017


- a family magazine Editor A. Raj Mariasusai sdb News Editor [Salesian & Church News] A.J. Frank sdb

6 Like Pope Francis Rector Major

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12 Church News

Advisory Board Maria Arokiam Kanaga - President SPCSA K.M. Jose - President Salesian Publishing Society / Xavier Packiam - Financial Advisor / Godfrey D'Souza Nirmol Gomes / Nestor Guria Vattathara Thomas / Thathi Reddy Joyce Mathew / Jose Mathew / Felix Fernandes George Maliekal / Albert Johnson Joseph Almeida Editorial Office The Salesian Bulletin, Bosco Illam 2nd Floor 26/17 Ranganathan Avenue, Sylvan Lodge Colony, Kellys, Chennai - 600 010 Phone : 044 - 26451991

15 At The Foot of the Cross A Lenten Reflection By Patrick Mathias SDB

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22 A crisis of Faith? By Ivo Coelho SDB

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Schooling, Startups and Salesian Education System By Sathish Kumar Thiyagarajan

The Publisher or the Editor is not held responsible for the views expressed by writers in this magazine. They do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Salesian Bulletin. All disputes are under the juridiction of Chennai Courts only. MARCH 2017

Published by M. Arockia Raj on behalf of Salesian Publishing Society, Bosco illam 2nd Floor, No. 26/17 Ranganathan Avenue Sylvan Lodge Colony, Kellys, Chennai - 600010. and Printed by Fr. Harris SDB at Salesian Institute of Graphic Arts No.49, Taylor's Road, Chennai - 600010 / Editor: M. Arockia Raj


The Salesian Bulletin

Editorial Editorial

If you don’t have good intentions, please leave me alone We have been discussing series of issues in the editorial that should seriously be considered to stay spiritual in our daily lives. Human beings are good, but they are capable of having bad intentions. We need to be alert of our own bad intentions and stay away from people who do not have good intentions. Hidden intentions are ubiquitous. They accompany in words, actions and even in jokes. We do come across people with inconsistent behaviour who seem nice in person but disappoint us totally at the back. How do we know people with bad intentions? We can often instinctively find out with their body language and language itself. It would be an eye contact or smile that mismatches. Let us take a simple example of someone giving charity to the poor in order to project himself/herself to be generous to people. But a closer watch would reveal that the person, in reality cares about himself not the poor. We witness individuals who go around giving religious and social advice. Often this is only to establish one’s superiority in the absence of both in themselves. Or give biased advice against a person he/she hates or conspires against. Some people who wish to be close to people who are troubled only make use of the weakness in the other. Oh yes! Be warned of people who only ask you ‘how are you doing’ only to grab bad news from your families or communities, if you are a religious. A person is ill- intentioned if the bad news makes him feel good about himself/herself. He is going to dig more bad news to establish his goodness. It is not easy to understand the real intentions of people. It is one of the reasons why we have so many child abuse victims. It is simply because children are not able to comprehend the intentions of grown-ups. Yet, try to understand the person his unmet needs and desires of life. Some smartly hide their intentions. It is simply not possible to get the indicators. But tricks can be traced. Look into their past actions and present workings, a pattern will emerge. Be cautious now! If you think a person talking bad things about other people with everyone is one of the criteria to identify bad intentioned people, not necessarily. Good talks of bad intentioned people can actually deceive you. They choose occasions and people to talk about others depending on the impact they can create. Acharya Chanakya has warned of such people saying that they are like snake catchers who play soothing tunes to control a snake. Similarly, individuals who have bad intentions speak well to us and become our best of friends. Listen to your inner voice to deal with two-faced people. It is hard to gather evidence with people with bad intentions, confronting at every act is the only way. Bad intentioned ones disguise themselves and take shelter in anything that comes their way. It can be in friends, family, party, caste or ethnic groups. It becomes difficult, rather very exhausting. Nevertheless, we need to protect ourselves from people who don’t have good intentions. The world will be a better place if we cultivate good intentions. The good intention of the Good Samaritan is a striking example. Bad intentioned people cannot escape the Lord (Proverbs 16:2). He examines their motives. James in his letter advises the “double-minded” with good and bad intentions, to “purify (y)our hearts.” The Lord invites us to acquire good intentions. Practice with concrete exercises of harmonizing you mind and heart in your words and actions making gratitude part of yourselves, and if all else fail, seek clarification with God and with people. It is said that good intentions are the most beautiful of secrets of our lives. If our intentions are good, nothing bad can happen to us. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God (Matthew 5:8)

A. Raj Mariasusai SDB The Salesian Bulletin


MARCH 2017


Thank you for publishing the cover story, ‘Quality Pastoral Leadership’. After reading it, several people tried to contact me and did so with great difficulty. I would appreciate if you could put this info somewhere in your next issue. My Email: My Cell: 9432568388

“Families never go out of style” is message of tribute to the families. The information age of globalization is affecting marriages and breaking families for trivial reasons. It is heart-warming to read a good message from the Rector Major of the Salesians of Don Bosco. The Salesians should pray for the families in their daily prayers.

Joe Thannickal SDB Kolkata

Sheeba Jayanth Guntur

I am gifting a year’s subscription of your beautifully crafted ‘the Salesian Bulletin’ to my nephew-in-law who is a Hindu. For the past 50 years, from the time of our parents, we have been part of the Don Bosco family at Matunga – Mumbai, Shillong and Chennai. Ms. Yvonne Mascarenhas Chennai

The contents page is very informative. Varied information on a single page and presented very attractively. The magazine always comes up with the news that is worthy of receiving attention and positive. Thomas Lakra Dimapur

The one-page stories you have started to publish from ‘Bollettino Salesiano’ are short and very interesting. Where is God when we need Him most? Is very touching story. We always wonder about human suffering, particularly the suffering of little children. Thank you for translating such stories for the benefit of other readers.

Very touching to read about Brother Julian Santi. Highly positive at the time of trial. Keep publishing such inspiring stories of the Salesians. I am one the beneficiaries of Brother Julian Santi. An inspirer par excellance. God Bless you Brother.

Sr. Cecilia Jones Mangalore

Ravi Joseph Vellore

Congratulations to Fr. K. M. Jose SDB. May the Grace of God guide you Peyyala Ignatius Gudivada

MARCH 2017


The Salesian Bulletin



LIKE POPE FRANCIS “My dear young people: I trust in you and I pray for you. Have the courage to be counter-cultural.” (Pope Francis) In a world where quite often we silence God and where He is pushed aside, we need the witness of young people for whom the Lord is truly the Lord of their lives and the path to happiness and authenticity. I recently returned from the Antilles, or more exactly, from the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Cuba, where we celebrated 100 years of Salesian presence and the beautiful feast of Don Bosco. As always, I met with our wonderful Salesian Family, with many lay people who have great affection for Don Bosco as well as for me, the Rector Major, and I also encountered some magnificent young people.

so as to be able to help out at home and at the same time to have greater opportunities in life. These young people, aged 20 to 25, who have no qualms about helping with liturgical celebrations as servers, or taking part in a magnificent choir in the church, or performing at the evening recreation, demonstrating their magnificent talents as actors and dancers. These, too, are our young people.

I met with many bright young people who are capable of being animators of other youths, of other boys and girls; young people who were already working or who were still studying while working

The World Needs You

I remember that before I left for this trip, I had sent to all the young people of the Salesian world a message with a theme for the feast of Don Bosco. In that video I shared with them the words which Pope Francis had directed to them during one of his encounters with the young. Just like Pope Francis, and I know just like many of you, dear readers and friends, I trust in the young; I pray for the young; I encourage them to be courageous, to be the protagonists of their own lives, and to swim against the tide, to be countercultural.

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To these young people I say that there are many adults like us who place great hope in them; that there are many adults who encourage them to be courageous in their life, recognizing that the world which we offer them is not an easy one and that opportunities are scarce. I also tell them that this is no fault of their own. We adults, too, must be self-critical. So, together with Pope Francis, I encourage them to have the strength to “swim against the current,” to be countercultural, when the call to be faithful to themselves and to Jesus resounds mightily within their hearts. Dear young people, I tell you that the world needs you. It stands in need of those great ideals which are proper to youth and to your youthful

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dreams. The world, everywhere, on six continents, now more than ever needs young people filled with hope and with courage, who do not fear to live, dream, and seek a profound and true happiness in which God inhabits their hearts. In a world where quite often we silence God and where He is pushed aside, we need the witness of young people for whom the Lord is truly the Lord of their lives and the path to happiness and authenticity. This world of ours needs young people who feel attracted to make a commitment and are able to sacrifice themselves and love “until it hurts,” as Mother Teresa of Calcutta used to say in her day – she who is now a saint. We need young people who are capable, through their commitment, to give of their time and of themselves.

Is this asking too much? I do not think so. Certainly, I am setting the bar high, but it is the same as Don Bosco asked of his boys at Valdocco – whether in the normal things of everyday life or in the heroicity of attending to those who were ill with the cholera.

I also remind you young people of today that we need you because other young people need you. You are the ones who can best understand and help them because there are many young people who are “tired, bored, or disenchanted,” or who simply never get excited about anything. There are young people who are very weak and MARCH 2017

fragile and need other young people to speak to them about life, using their language, so as to show them that there are other paths and possibilities open to them. They need others who will help them truly believe that running away from the challenges of life is never a solution. They also need true “missionary disciples” who will help them discover Jesus in their lives and help them believe in Him – in a Jesus, I tell you, who will not sell them “a pig in a poke” (‘no les vende humo’) but will offer them life, authentic life, His life, and His very self.

A short while ago, Pope Francis wrote a message to all the young people of the world in which he said: “I do not fear…. A better world can be built also as a result of your efforts, your desire to change, and your generosity. Do not be afraid to listen to the Spirit, who proposes bold choices; do not delay when your conscience asks you to take risks in following the Master.” Hence, my invitation in these pages seeks to help many young people of the world to be generous. It is also a call to us adults to stand beside them, place our bets on them, believe in them, trust in them, and pray for them – for those whose faith is alive, as well as for those who are seeking or simply feel lost. God never abandons any of His sons or daughters. Be happy!


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YOUTH ICON FROM THE BIBLE Miriam, whom we refer to here, is a relatively less a safe haven! It was because she stood there, she was able known and highly confused with character in the to intervene for good, when it was possible. How blessed Bible first of all because there are quite a few with it is to stand by when your brothers and sisters are at that name! Though not known bay. Her cooperation with God’s by this name, Miriam, the elder plan, even without her knowing was sister of Moses stands out as a so crucial in history. She became an Youth Icon, the greatest of her acts instrument in the hands of God. being instrumental in getting the Miriam proves an example and infant Moses, nursed by its own a challenge for the young today. mother. Miriam seems to have Our society filled with troubles been already twelve years old when and crises, is longing to taste true Moses was born. She proved herself happiness and serenity. God can use a compassionate sibling, a caring anyone as an instrument to achieve sister, staying close to her mom in this well being for the struggling her efforts to safeguard the child masses. How divine it would prove from its imminent death. And when if every young person is open, an alternate plan was devised she was pliable and eager to cooperate with again an integral part of it. It was not just the mother’s plan but the the plan of God and be at the service plan of salvation, the salvation that of one’s brothers and sisters! the Lord of history was preparing So, my young friend... ICON 4 : MIRIAM for the people of God. Two things shine in the personality of Miriam: her sincere love for • have you realised that you too have a role within her little brother and her significant role in materialising the plan of God? the plan of God. Her love for her brother was seen in • do you have the necessary disposition to do the fact that she did not leave after the child was left to what God expects from you? float on the river...she stood to watch till it would reach


EXPERIENCING THE HOLY SPIRIT: The Spirit and the Catholic Experience (Questions 113 -144) We have reached the end of the part one: WHAT WE BELIEVE. The section here begins with a clarity on the Holy Spirit and moves over to expound the catholic elements of the Christian belief. The Holy Spirit is God, just as the Father and the Son and they are Three in One - One God in three persons. The Spirit makes known the Father in our hearts. Only through the Spirit can one know Christ and experience him as such. Holy Spirit is an experience - the people of faith have experienced the Spirit as a healing ointment, living water, raging storm or flaming fire. Jesus himself presented the Holy Spirit as the counselor, comforter, teacher of truth. The Church continues this The Salesian Bulletin


experience offering the Spirit to her children through imposition of hands and anointing with oil. It is this Holy Spirit who makes the Church come alive - in history and today. The Pentecost experience (pentecost means the fiftieth day after Christ’s resurrection) which gave birth to the Church, continues even today, making the children of God unite as People of God. The Holy Spirit forms the Church, reminds the Church of her mission, sends people in mission, strengthens them with gifts and builds a deep communion. The Spirit has worked in the prophets of God, in Mary the chosen instrument of God, in Jesus the anointed Son of God, in the apostles and in the saints, making the presence of the Spirit a daily experience. As the quiet guest of our soul, the Spirit relates us to God, helps us to pray and challenges us to be there for each other! • How close do you feel to the Spirit of the Lord in your daily experience? MARCH 2017


KNOW YOUR CHURCH: Is the Church the ultimate end towards which and that was just a planting of the Reign of God - it has we work as Christians? begun, but not grown to the full yet; it has germinated In all that we do, we are tending to and striving to build up the Church - would that be the right thing to say, as Catholic Christians? You feel like giving an emphatic YES as an answer? But the answer is a gentle NO! Yes, the Church is the ‘Body of Christ’, ‘the Bride of Christ’, ‘the Temple of the Holy Spirit’ but it is not an end in itself. The Church is at the service of the Kingdom of God/Reign of God. Seek first the Reign of God, the rest will be given unto you said Jesus and his whole life was an arduous effort at building this Reign of God. He did whatever the Father willed that he did,


BIO-ETHICS - THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF A HUMAN PERSON IN A COMMUNITY (Digression*-Questions 61-83)If Human persons are so infinitely valuable, can they do whatever they want land be justified? Human Persons do not exist alone, they live in a community. And hence there are rights and duties that ensure the dignity and inviolability of all. A Digression* finds itself in place here calling our attention to issues on Bio-ethics. It is seen within the framework of the inviolable personal dignity of every human person, that life is sacred. Life has to be vehemently upheld specially at the most vulnerable stages of human life - at its beginning and at its end, where the concerned person is not able make free and right choices. Issues like the value of life of an unborn, an elderly, a sick person have to be dealt with utmost respect and sacredness. Issues like making life conceive outside the body, removal of an embryo with the possibilities of handicap or diseases, determining when MARCH 2017

but not put out its entire branches. When Jesus knew he had done his part and wished that his friends, the apostles do their part, he formed them in a community - that is what we call the Church! The Church is an interim arrangement that Jesus has willed that every person called in the name of Jesus, comes together in the Spirit of love and communion and makes present the reign of God here and now. In that manner, the Church is called and envisioned to be a bit of heaven here on earth, the foretaste of the Reign of God that is yet to come. Church is fully aware that she is at the service of the Reign of God.

a life should be born and when a person can terminate one’s own life for reasons like pain and sickness - are tendencies to take life for granted. Life cannot be considered a personal property or owned by its parents or guardians. Life belongs to God and God alone can determine it. “You shall not kill” applies to one’s own life too. For a Christian, life is a gift and dying is a step to its final maturity. Life is sacred and life is divine. [*’Digression’ are certain parts of the DOCAT that have a special information to provide. As we know Do Cat is an anthology of the Social Doctrine of the Church. But there are certain pertinent issues that are discussed apart based on the teachings of the Church thus far, and this part is named ‘Digression’ to differentiate from the normal flow].

- How mindful are you about the fact that you are unique and infinitely valuable, because you are made of God’s image and likeness? 9

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Number and News Dr. Arokiaswamy Velumani, 57, Chairman of Thyrocare Technologies Limited, who grew in poverty at a village near Coimbatore, worked as a scientist at Bhaba Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Mumbai, for 15 years before he took voluntary retirement and set up a thyroid lab

in 1995 with his Provident Fund money. He created a business empire that is today valued

3,60,00,00,00,000 (3,600 Crore) from a small investment of Rs 100,000 from a 200 sq ft rented garage at Byculla in South at Rs


Photo of the Month

Social Media: Facebook Source: Son of God On the Wall: You are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples. -Psalm 77:14 Posted On: 21 February 2017 As On: 21 February 2017 (10 Hours) Likes: 56,610 Shares: 3,307 Comments: 1,325 Chosen Comment: God in Heaven, I pray for a breakthough for my daughter Karla. Please hear my prayer. You know my thoughts, worries and the heart of a mother begging for her child. Amen. (Eillen Morales)

Wonder Cricketer: On 20th February, left-arm seamer Thangarasu Natarajan’s life was changed forever. He was picked by Kings XI Punjab for a mind boggling Rs 3 crore – this after entering the field with a base price of just Rs 10 lakh at the 2017 edition of Indian Premier League Player Auction. One of five children from a household in Salem, his mother runs a street side stall and father works as a porter at the railway station.

Speak Up “There you go. Seems like we have another Chief Minister. Jai de-mockcrazy.” (Ace Actor Kamal Haasan on the ongoing political turmoil in Tamil Nadu and the trust vote won by Chief Minister Edappadi Palanisamy. The Salesian Bulletin


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THE FORBIDDEN FRUIT After tricking our great parents Adam and Eve The wily serpent plucked more fruits From the enticing tree of knowledge of good and evil Scattered them to the winds and birds of the air So they might sprout and grow strong everywhere. Today this fruit concentrate is mixed in liquor and drugs And also delivered via satellites and media In high speed no- age- barred porn videos Web arranged adulteries and whiplashing orgies Even in going- viral- prone life endangering selfies. The forbidden fruit tastes honey sweet in the mouth But turns outrageously bitter further down in the guts. Why then is it so compulsively beckoning ? ‘Coz it guarantees pure pleasure and new knowledge Whereas God, our maker, threatens with instant death. No doubt it confers new pristine knowledge Of shame, confusion and tragic disillusionment! The guaranteed heavenly ecstasy turns to torturous agony! The outcome of a tragic trust in man’s cozening enemy Than in the good Lord loving, caring and all wise. In seven days’ span God fashioned the vast universe Found it all good and blessed it to increase Why did he then keep the forbidden tree in lovely Eden ? Because man’s choice of God should be perfectly free Compelled, programmed love degrades his majesty.

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India favorable to pope’s visit Three Indian cardinals namely Cardinal Baselios Cleemis, president of the Indian bishops’ conference, Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay who head India’s largest archdiocese, and Cardinal George Alencherry, head of the Syro-Malabar Church, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 7th February in New Delhi, to discuss a possible visit to the country by Pope Francis. “The prime minister informed [us] that the government holds a favorable attitude toward the pope’s visit to India,” the bishop’s press release said without giving any further details of the meeting.

Center for sacred art opens in Sri Lanka

Pakistan court acquits 106 in Christian attack case An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan acquitted 106 Muslims accused of being involved in a 2013 arson attack on Christian houses in Lahore’s Joseph Colony neighbourhood.On March 9, 2013, thousands of protesters armed with sticks and stones stormed Joseph Colony and set about 150 houses ablaze over allegations of blasphemy against a Christian man.Hundreds of homes, shops, vehicles and three churches were torched by the mob.

India gets new Vatican ambassador

Pope has appointed Archbishop Giambattista Diquattro as the new apostolic nuncio to India and Nepal. The 62-year-old Italian prelate is currently the nuncio to Bolivia, a responsibility which he took over on November 21, 2008. India has been without a Vatican ambassador since early October when Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, who was the Apostolic Nuncio to India and Nepal for six years, left for Poland. The new nuncio is taking over at a time when India is preparing to receive Pope Francis, who has shown interest in visiting the country. The Salesian Bulletin


The Catholic Church in Sri Lanka has established its first center for sacred art and architecture in Negombo, sometimes called “Little Rome” because of its large Catholic population. The center will teach students the theoretical and practical understanding of sacred arts such as iconography, liturgy, music and liturgical preaching. It will also teach sacred architecture.

Caritas helps Sri Lankan villages switch to solar power

Caritas Sri Lanka, the social arm of the Catholic Church, established solar lighting systems in community centers, study centers and preschools in Jaffna, Anuradhapura and Kurunegala Dioceses. Each diocese received ten systems via Caritas’ sustainable energy program. The project was funded by Misereor, a German church aid organization to promote the use of renewable energy as an alternative to polluting energy sources. MARCH 2017



Pope appoints Special Envoy to Medjugorje On 11th February, Pope Francis named Archbishop Henryk Hoser, S.A.C., the Bishop of Warszawa-Praga, as a Special Envoy of the Holy See to Medjugorje, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The scope of his mission is “to acquire a profound understanding of the pastoral situation” in Medjugorje, with special concern for the “needs of the faithful who come on pilgrimage;” and on the basis of that understanding “to suggest possible pastoral initiatives for the future.”

Samurai martyr beatified in Japan A 17th century Catholic Samurai and martyr was beatified during a Mass in Osaka, Japan on 7th February. Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints, presided over the Beatification Mass of Justo Takayama Ukon, who was declared a martyr by Pope Francis in January last year.

Colombian Nun kidnapped in Mali- Africa

18th Meeting of Council of Cardinals The 18th meeting of the Council of Cardinals took place in the Vatican. The C9, as the group is commonly called, is studying the plans for reforming the Apostolic Constitution “Pastor Bonus” on the Roman Curia.

World Day of the Sick: Solemn Celebration in Lourdes With Cardinal Parolin

On the World Day of the Sick, February 11, 2017, feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, the Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin represented Pope Francis in the Marian city. The Pontiff’s representative took part in a torch procession

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Sister Cecilia Narváez Argoti, a religious of Colombian nationality of the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of Mary Immaculate, kidnapped in Karangasso in southern Mali . Fr. Edmond Dembele, Secretary General of the Episcopal Conference of Mali said, “The kidnappers arrived on 7 February from a secluded location a bit far from the village where Sister Cecilia and her sisters were. They broke into the missionary center and plundered money and computer equipment. They then escaped with the ambulance of the medical center with the nun. Till now there are no claims or demands for ransom”.

on the evening of February 10. This was his second trip to Lourdes after his visit in 1996 – then a simple priest – with a group of students. 13

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And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them-2 Cor 5:15 A LENT WITH CHRIST Lent is an important season in the liturgical calendar that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends with a great celebration of Easter. It is a time of grace and it is going to last 40 days (Latin-Quadragesima). Traditionally the forty days represents also the time that Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan before he could begin his ministry. Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter, through prayer, almsgiving, atonement, and selfdenial. It is a time for self-examination and reflection. The 40-day journey of Lent is a wonderful opportunity to grow and to deepen our faith, realizing how much God has loved us. As believers, we need to find our own path of self-reflection and spiritual discovery towards Metanoia, a change of heart. In other words, the purpose of Lent is nothing but to come closer to God and to reconcile ourselves The Salesian Bulletin


to God and to our neighbors. And for this, Holy Mother the Church proposes a regular discipline of following three traditional practices for renewal and reconciliation. They are Prayer (justice towards God), Fasting (justice towards self), and Almsgiving (justice towards neighbours). PERIOD OF TRANSFORMATION: FORTY DAYS

In the Bible, Forty days period is spiritually significant. It is a period of transformation. This is very clear from the following examples: 1. Noah’s life was transformed by forty days of Rain and flood (Gen 7:4); 2. Moses was transformed by forty days on Mount Sinai (Ex 24:18); 3. The Israelites were transformed by their forty years’ wandering in the wilderness (Num 32:13); 4. The spies who were sent out to search the Promised Land also went through forty days; 5. David also went through forty days of a challenge at the hands Goliath; 6. Ezekiel was transformed after carrying MARCH 2017

on his shoulders the punishment of the house of Judah for forty days (Ezek: 4:6); 7. Elijah was transformed when God gave him forty days of strength from a single meal (I kings: 19:8); 8. The entire city of Nineveh was transformed when God gave the people forty days to change (Jon 3:4); 9. Jesus was empowered by forty days of fast in the wilderness (Mt: 4:1-2; Mk 1:12-13; Lk 4:1-2); 10. The disciples were transformed by forty days with Jesus after his Resurrection (Acts: 1:3). THE CROSS OF CHRIST

Jesus’ death on the Cross is central to human history. Two thousand years have gone and yet, Jesus’ death on the cross is the most remembered death in the history of the world. The open tomb of Jesus and the Mount Calvary in Jerusalem, is the most visited place in the world by people. It is on the famous Good Friday that Jesus died on the cross, for Love. After that Friday, neither the world, nor humanity, remained the same. His death has turned everything upside down. And today, the Cross has become the most widely recognized symbol in the world. It adorns the MARCH 2017

neck of thousands of human beings. Many of the graves are marked with the cross, and many of the churches have the cross built on top of it. The art and jewelry are full of the designs of the Cross. The cross was the most humiliating means of execution available to Roman Empire at that period of History. But after the death of Jesus on the cross, it has gained significance of immense importance and great theology. Yes, once it was the symbol of human empire’s power and now it has been changed into a symbol of the suffering love of God. The ultimate expression of threat, has now been changed into an expression of ultimate hope for every person in the world. THE CALVARY OF LOVE

In the book “The Brothers Karamazov” by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, there is the story of two brothers. Ivan, the free thinking brother and his seminary brother Aloysha. One day Aloysha asks his brother a question: How will you live? How will you love? To which he replies saying that, the meaning of life, the ability to love is based on an image of God, embodied in the figure of Jesus Christ. 15

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Cross is the main gift of Love. Love and death are so united in the passion of the Saviour that you cannot have in their hearts the one without the other. On Calvary you cannot have life without love or love without the death of the Redeemer. Any love that doesn’t derive its origin from the passion of the saviour is frivolous and dangerous! PRAYER OF ABANDONMENT

Jesus sets out on a journey to Mount Calvary knowing well that it is going to be difficult and challenging. Jesus’ Obedience to the death on the cross has always had a character of mystery. “… My father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want (Mt 26: 39). Jesus did pray in the time of anguish and struggle. At these agonizing moments, the evangelists capture clearly the different gestures of Jesus ‘prayer (Lk 22:45- when he got up from prayer, he came to the disciples; Lk 22: 41He knelt down and prayed; Mk 14:35 – Jesus prostrated on the ground in Prayer). On the Cross Jesus experienced the greatest moment of agony, namely “God-forsakenness.” feeling. As a result, He cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”(Mk 15:34). The true follower of

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Christ should not run to him when in need alone but feel the abandonment of Christ on the Cross. “My God, My God, why have you deserted me” (Mt 27:46). This cry of our Saviour on the Cross opens an abyss of suffering. Nothing is left, not even clothes, except complete loneliness, utter desertion, etc., The agony of Calvary was turned into a prayer in the words of the Psalm (Ps 22:1) that Christ quoted. .” He cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”(Mk 15:34) The need of the hour, during the Lent, is the Prayer. If we wish to encounter God in this Lent, we must enter into the restful silence of God. Then the prayer of the heart will unfold itself, in that deep interior silence. And there the meaningful prayer to God will take place. Prayer becomes an infallible tool for all those who would like to encounter God. We need to hear the voice of the Saviour this lent. JESUS DID IT

One of the simple and yet a complicated question that is being reflected upon in this holy season is, why did Jesus die the way he died? The answer seems to be obvious. Jesus did it. For me. He took the place of you and me on the Cross. It was sin –the human darkness in every other person involved- that put Jesus on the Cross. But Jesus believed that through love, the cross could somehow become not just a symbol of sin and death but also a symbol of even more powerful redemptive love. The real messianic calling was not to conquer but to die out of love for others and so he did. Hence we could say that Jesus died on the cross in place of Barabbas. The story of the human race began in a garden with a man called Adam. The story of the second Adam would end in a garden called Gethsemane. After his arrest in the garden and until Jesus died on the cross, he had many options before him: did not fight against the soldiers in the garden; he didn’t say a word to justify his stand; he didn’t run and escape into the desert; may be, he could have collaborated with the chief priests or he could have cut a deal with Pilate or he could have simply called on God to deliver him. He could have even come down from the cross or he could MARCH 2017

have instigated the crowds to go against the Romans. But Jesus did not do any of those things. By doing like this, he proved himself that he has come to do not his will but the will of him who has sent him. LOVE OF CHRIST

The truth of being loved by Christ, is difficult to describe. Because, it is what made him go that far, to embrace the cross. St Paul explains this in the letter to Eph 3:18-19: ‘that you may comprehend, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses all knowledge. It is also this love of Christ which became a controlling force for St. Paul (2 Cor 5:14). The act of self-sacrifice on the Cross made Paul trust in the love of Christ.

Karl Barth, the famous German theologian, once visited the United States. There the students asked him a question: Dr. Barth, what is the single most truth that you have learned as a theologian?

His answer is too great and wonderful. He said “the single most truth that I have learned is that “Jesus loves me”. MODEL OF SUFFERING LOVE

Jesus died alone, and yet people die for him still. Jesus as the Saviour, is the greatest model of suffering love, who shares in our own individual and human sufferings. He is alive to our daily situations. God is concerned about us, especially in our darkest moments of doubt, shadow and suffering. This is the love which Jesus expresses in Jn 15:13 - No one has greater love than to lay down his life for his friends. We are called to be the expression of Christ’s saving love in the modern world today. THE CALL OF THE CROSS

Lent is a period of grace, a period of renewal. A period of intense prayer, fasting and almsgiving and also a period of the return of the prodigal. A period in which we are asked to take shelter in the shadow of the Cross. The call of the Cross is nothing MARCH 2017

but to follow the Lord. God understands our lives. He has walked the path we are traveling. Therefore, it is a call to abandon ourselves in the hands of the Loving Saviour. A call to be obedient unto death like Jesus; A call to renew our commitment to do the will of God in our lives; a call to a sacrificial living; a call to forgive everything; a call to carry the Cross purposefully and meaningfully; a redemptive call to embrace the salvific plan of God for our living; a period of entering into the desert of our innermost self, hidden in God. A forty days journey of looking at the Saviour on the Cross. As we begin this season, can we ask ourselves, these two questions: What would I, like to leave at the foot of the Cross? What would I, like to take with me from the foot of the Cross?

I believe we can leave at the foot of the Cross, our sinfulness, our anxieties, our guilt feelings, our own fears. God would heal them, because he has paid the prize for it all. And from the foot of the Cross, can we take home in this season of Lent, the Peace, the Joy, the accompanying presence of God, the forgiveness of our sins and the light for our paths. Can we put on the attitude of the so called ‘good thief’ who even stole the heaven at the last minute? The choice is ours, to carry our own Cross and go behind the master. St. Paul invites us to carry the death of Christ in our individual lives, saying “Always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus, may also be made visible in our bodies.” (2 Cor 4:10). Without the Cross, we are no longer the disciples of the Lord ---Pope Francis 17

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Demise of Fr. Edward Xavier SDB

Province Delegates from the Young at Risk Department meet in Dimapur Around 20 Young at Risk (YAR) delegates from eleven Salesian provinces of India took part in a daylong animation that centered around `Concerns and Issues of YAR in India`. The animator for the session was Mr. Munish an erstwhile team member of CORDAID, based in New Delhi.

First Salesian From Sikkim Ordained Priest

The first Salesian priest from northeastern Indian Himalayan state of Sikkim concluded the season of priestly ordinations of the Salesians of Don Bosco in south Asia becoming 61st deacon to be ordained. Bishop Stephen Lepcha of Darjeeling-Sikkim ordained priest Deacon Stephen Biswakarma at a solemn ceremony at Christ the King Church Pakyong, East Sikkim district, 11 February 2017.

Heartfelt appeal of Salesian Cardinal Charles Maung Bo

“Myanmar is going through one of the most harrowing moments of its history. The people of Burma are deeply saddened because the country seems to be falling into dark days. Myanmar needs the attention of the world to strengthen its fragile path to democracy.”: So says the Salesian Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, Archbishop of Yangon, in an urgent appeal sent to Fides. The Salesian Bulletin


Fr. Edward Xavier sdb, aged 68, belonging to the Salesian Province of Tiruchy, died on 13th February in Sri Lanka. He went as a missionary to the Vice Province of St. Joseph, Sri Lanka and was serving as the Confessor of Don Bosco Chintanaloka. He was a simple and humble Salesian who had sincere heart for the poor and the needy. The funeral service was held on 15th February at Amsam, Tiruchy

Three cardinals meet Prime Minister Modi for the release of Fr Tom Uzhunnalil

On Wednesday 8 February, three Indian cardinals (Cardinal Baselios Cleemis, Card. George Alancherry, Card. Oswald Gracias) met with the Prime Minister of India, Hon. Narendra Modi, in his office at the headquarters of Parliament, to request the Government to adopt urgent measures to secure the release of Fr Tom Uzhunallil, the Indian Salesian missionary kidnapped in March last year in Aden, Yemen.

Salesians’ Parents Celebrate Family Day at Kapadvanj

“Salesian Parents’ Day”, a gathering of parents and family members of the native Salesians from Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh was organized at the Don Bosco Campus, Kapadvanj on February 05, 2017. The theme “We are a Family” was celebrated with 47 enthusiastic participants, not counting children and the Salesians. This fellowship gathering provided a good chance for the Salesian confreres to express their gratitude to their parents. The solemn Eucharistic celebration was presided over by Father Ivan de Souza, Provincial Councillor and former Rector of Don Bosco Kapadvanj. MARCH 2017



The Day of Consecrated Life- Rwanda

Fr Pedro Baquero- appointed as a new bishop for Kerema diocese (PNG) The Holy Father Francis appointed Bishop of Kerema Diocese (Papua New Guinea) Fr. Peter Baquero Junior, SDB, the first Superior of the Vice Province PGS (Papua New Guinea – Solomon Islands). Catholic Diocese of Kerema is located in the Gulf Province, near to the capital city of Port Moresby and was established in 1971. Comprises the territory of 34.000 square kilometer, total population of 128.300, with 25.200 Catholics (20%), 10 parishes, 5 diocesan priests with 7 religious priests (including our SDB community in Araimiri) and 14 religious sisters.

On February 4th there was the celebration of the Day of Consecrated Life in Rwanda, at Kibelho, the place of the Apparitions of the Virgin Mary. Several representatives of various congregations, coming from different cultures and countries took part in the event. The Salesian Delegation was guided by the Superior of the Province of Africa Great Lakes (AGL), Fr. Camiel Swertvagher.

Logo for SYM Gathering 2017

In preparation for the European gathering of the Salesian Youth Movement (SYM), scheduled to take place from 11 to 16 August 2017, the coordinators from the socalled “Small Team SYM Europe” have unveiled the logo for the event. The logo is in three parts representing a set of arrows - blue representing vision, red for passion and yellow for mission. The three parts can also be seen as referring to the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Blessing of the foundation stone of “Casa Artemide Zatti”

Brazil Salesiana Network launches the New Web Portal

Brazil Salesian Network (RSB) launched a new web portal which collects information, news and subsidies of the five fronts of Salesian activity in the country: RSB-Schools, RSB-Social, RSB-Communication, RSB-Higher Education and Salesian Youth Ministry. Besides the news and downloadable subsidies, each site provides specific services to facilitate communication and collaborative work, in keeping with the needs of each network.

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The cornerstone of the “Casa Artemide Zatti” was blessed on 5 February. The building will house the sick and elderly Salesians in need of special medical attention. Fr. Timothy Ploch, Councillor for the Inter-America Region blessed the foundation stone in the presence of Fr Hugo Orozco, Provincial of Guadalajara (MEG), Fr Francisco González, Provincial Economer, and the pre-novitiate community. 19

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WOMEN’S DAY: CELEBRATE WOMEN’S INDOMITABLE SPIRIT & PEERLESS PRESENCE Celebration of Women’s Day is to celebrate womanhood and to pay tribute to the indomitable spirit and to appreciate the inimitable presence of women across the globe. It’s a day to connect with one another physically, virtually and spiritually – and to give thanks for the generations of amazing women who have fought across time and space against all forms of discrimination, exclusion, marginalization, violence and lack of equal opportunities for women and the generations of phenomenal women still to come! The celebration of Women’s Day is the celebration of the incredible women who not only build homes by playing multiple roles like mother, daughter, sister or friend, but who build the world as leaders, innovators, risk-takers, mentors and models. It’s a significant moment to thank women for their boundless dedication in family and professional wellbeing, their reliable relationships in social welfare, their resolute aspiration for peaceful political autonomy, their enterprising efforts for economic emancipation, their sagacious struggles for religiocultural awakening, their resilient resolution for information and technological development, their incessant cry for ecological harmony, their ardent adventurous devotion for gender equality and justice

It’s the celebration of women’s maternal concern, manifested in million ways to the weak, the marginalized or downtrodden, affirming a sense of community in an increasingly blinkered society. It’s the celebration of the ability and strength of women – the way that they pick themselves up after being knocked down, and continue to climb over obstacles. It’s the celebration of women’s ardent and authentic love for their friends, partners, parents, children, and relatives. Above all, it’s the celebration of the fact that they are women, and they remain different and unique in order to assert their space in a misogynistic society. The Salesian Bulletin


Women deserve celebration, appreciation and honour more than yesterday and yester years for being important pillars of society and active architects and engineers of society. Everyone should recognize, acknowledge, and celebrate the indomitable will and irreplaceable presence and role of women in building healthy and happy society. The goodness and the integrity of women need to be appreciated on a daily basis, and not just once a year. Their insuperable and unique contributions to the human family and to the cosmic family need to be celebrated every day, every minute, and every second. However, on Women’s Day, not only great events need to be organized throughout the world to recognize, to appreciate, and to hounour women, but it is a moment to inspire and to ignite women with greater passion to achieve more and more. It’s a time to reflect on the works that remain to be accomplished and to respond adequately to many women whose voices go unheard and who continue to be excluded from realizing their full potential as equal human persons. It is an opportunity to take stock of the status of women, gender equality, an advocacy, and an action – for transformation of the society at local and global level. Women’s Day celebration is perhaps especially important in every part of the world where women are still forced to deal with shocking inequality on a daily basis and is meant to raise awareness of the challenges and struggles faced by these women. Education, health, safety, and economic security remain big challenges that women around the world are still facing each and every day. But, there is something that WOMEN can do! Yes, with optimum courage and undaunted spirit they can promote and raise awareness of human and women’s rights and achieve equal opportunity and status in and for all walks of life.

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uring a recent visit home I received two somewhat disturbing pieces of news: that a Catholic family I know is thinking of becoming Hindu, and that another Catholic young person of my acquaintance has chosen to settle down with a Muslim boy “just like that,” without any fuss, and with no sign or desire for a church wedding. Nothing new in the secularized context of Europe, but new in India, at least for me. My mind went back immediately to the all India research carried out exactly ten years ago and published under the title “Lord I believe: increase my faith”: The Response of Catholic Youth to Religion (Mumbai: Tej-prasarini, 2016). The research team consisting of Cyril De Souza, Josantony Joseph and Johny Joseph had come to the conclusion that, while there is generally no crisis of belief among The Salesian Bulletin


Catholic youth in India, we might well be heading towards a crisis of faith.

That conclusion might need some unpacking. It means that, ten years ago, our youth were largely comfortable with and even extremely traditional in their sacramental practice and their beliefs, especially those not impinging on their everyday lives. On the other hand, as far as issues such as integrity, violence, birth control and sexuality were concerned, it appeared that they took their convictions from the larger society rather than from their Catholic religion. Interestingly, the study indicated that our youth exhibited a heartening concern for the poor and marginalized, but that, on the other hand, they did not perceive this concern as flowing from their religious beliefs and commitments. Hence the conclusion of the study: MARCH 2017

while there did not seem to be any crisis of belief, it did appear that our youth had not personally and critically appropriated their Catholic religion.

The danger in such a state of affairs is quite clear. The study had predicted that, in a crisis situation, it would be all too easy for such young people to fall away from the Catholic religion and join other groups that offered them greater levels of internalization and a more vibrant sense of community – meaning perhaps other ecclesial communities such as the many varieties of Pentecostal and other such movements. The research did not mention the possibility of defections from the Christian religion as such. History shows, however, that in moments of crisis, large sections of those with a largely sociological sense of religion drop away and defect in one way or the other. It is enough to see what happened with the advent of the Islamic religion in the 7th century, and the galloping secularism in the Western world today. My question is: with the strong showing of Hinduism in the current scenario, are we heading for a crisis of sorts? I am not saying that defections will always or largely be motivated by deep reasons. The comfort of being with the majority and enjoying its privileges might be reason enough for most people. Not to be discounted either is the slow but sure spread of secularism, beginning from our cities. My impression is that, while it is quite possible to be secular and Hindu, things do not quite work out the same way for Christians, with our definite creeds, cults, codes and community practices and mores. As the 2006 study revealed, on everyday issues such as integrity, family and sexuality our youth are already going their own way. It is a small step from such independence to the decision to drop externals such as sacramental practice and beliefs. The temptation is perhaps greater for the so-called educated classes: in the absence of adult appropriation, it is all too easy to leave the faith behind along with the toys of childhood.

Are we as a church investing enough in the faith education of young adults? Are we as Salesians investing enough in this area, and are we convinced that we should? Are catechesis and faith education

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taboo topics for our all India conferences, whether of religious or of professors of philosophy and of theology? And even when we deal with issues of gender, liberation, ecology and family, are we able to see them from within the horizon of the faith, and do they form part of our catechetical programs? I remember all too well a young relative of mine who, some years ago, told me that she was frequenting the Opus Dei community in Mumbai – because, she said, they were the only people she knew who were willing to offer her the kind of opportunity to deepen the faith that she badly felt she needed. And also a very friendly bishop who said to me: Ivo, you Salesians are so good with youth, but look, it is the Jesus Youth and others who are really offering spiritual guidance to them. I am not pleading for extremisms of any sort. We Salesians are mostly middle of the road people, neither on the Right nor on the extreme Left, and that is where we should be. We are not meant for elites of any kind, we are meant to be with those who are at risk and hurting and messed up. I am also aware that someone might say: but why are you indulging in this kind of dualism between faith education and social commitments, we have gone beyond that long ago. I would like to be neither extremist nor dualist. The only question I ask myself is: From where am I really coming? What is it that moves me? Vocation and mission, after all, cannot begin from me; they come from Someone who calls and sends. That Someone: does he have a face and a name for me? And am I able to call upon Him, invoke Him? Christmas and Epiphany are the celebration of the fact that God has taken namarupa, a face and a name, in Jesus: “No one has ever seen God; the only begotten, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known.” (Jn 1,18) Our vocation is Jesus. He calls us by name, as he called Andrew and John, and Peter and Philip and Nathanael. He calls us not merely to follow him, but to become like him revelations of the unbelievable love of the Father. That is our mission: to be signs and bearers of God’s love. “Like Don Bosco, we are all called to be educators to the faith at every opportunity. Our highest knowledge therefore is to know Jesus Christ, and our greatest delight is to reveal to all people the unfathomable riches of his mystery.” (SDB Const. 34) 23

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as you never heard before...

The Wide Gap (Lk 16: 19-31)


ne of the most graphic stories of Jesus is the one of the Rich Man and the Poor Lazarus. Very dramatic! Any film maker would love to grab it for a screen play, with shows of wealth, extreme poverty, heaven, Hades, clouds, angels carrying a soul to heaven, and torments of hell, Abraham’s bosom, and what not! His parables are generally sober, taken from a real life experience. He seems to have made this one purposely theatrical. “I enjoyed the story, Jesus. You have a lot of imagination,” said Alpheus.

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Jesus said: “Not exactly. Remember we passed through the city of Tiberias last week? I literally saw dogs licking the wounds of a poor beggar lying at the door of an opulent house. I was traumatized by the sight. I talked to him and asked his name.” “Oh that’s how you used his proper name in this story. Usually you never use names in your parables,” said Andrew.

“You are a good observer, Andrew. That is right. As most of my stories, this too was not a mere fairy tale. This is the reality in our own society. If you MARCH 2017

notice Lazarus never says a word. He represents the voiceless mass of the poor in this society. It is only Abraham who speaks on his behalf. It is God who takes up their defence and renders them justice.” replied Jesus. Thomas: “Poor Dives (rich man, in Latin), Abraham could have sent Lazarus to help him. After all he asked just for a drop of water. He gave the lame excuse of an unbridgeable chasm between them.” Thomas was always a doubter, because he was sharp! Jesus said: “That gap is central to my story, not an accidental detail.”

“How so?” wondered Simon. A group of them gathered around, curious.

Jesus said: “That gap in the next world represents the chasm that exists between the rich and the poor in this world itself. Seemingly this divide was not closed, here. All action and inactions in this world have an equal reaction in the next. By creating a distance here, one keeps creating that fatal chasm in the future world too. Dives never even thought that he had created it. In the next world too he thinks that this chasm does not exist. It is Abraham who points it out to him.” “But why one cannot cross this space? Does God condemn all rich people to hell?” asked Alpheus.

“God does not condemn anyone. All are his children. But the rich condemn themselves by making their conscience callous and insensitive towards their own suffering brothers. It is not done overnight. Slowly, by constant feasting one numbs his ability to see that his brothers and sisters are suffering. This becomes a normalcy in him, both in this world and in the next. This creates hell. God does not make hell.” “Father Abraham gives the explanation,” continued Jesus. “Dives had wealth that was far beyond his reasonable need or use. All that belongs to the poor, which he refuses to give. This gap keeps widening constantly. I guess that some 100 people in Israel, among whom are Herod and the Chief Priests. They possess as much wealth as half of the entire population. This is a chasm that no one seems even worried about, leave alone find

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ways to bridge it. This divide is more fatal for the rich, than for the poor. The more one increases this gap, the farther one gets away from salvation. They will have to answer for it in the next life! Do you not read in the psalms that the rich man does not understand the dangers of his wealth. He is like the animals that perish!” Andrew asked another question: “But God can bridge this gap, can he not?” “I see Andrew that you are quite sympathetic towards Dives. We all feel bad when a rich man suffers, but take it as normal, when it happens to the poor!” There was silence. They knew it was true.

“But, Dives was a repentant man; he could have been given some pity. His desire for the salvation of his brothers shows his good will.”

Jesus replied. “Here the problem is that his concept of “brothers” does not extend to Lazarus and his likes in the town, but only to his own family. He should have said, let Lazarus ask them to share their wealth with the poor! That does not occur to him at all. Once you become wealthy, you only think of your comfort and that of your family, and how you can escape your punishment, not much of giving to the poor what belongs to them.”

Simon said: “I understand that. But if someone rises from the dead and gives a warning, that will shake up the conscience of people and they will change. How could you say that Moses and the Prophets are enough?”

Jesus paused and laughed ruefully. “Do you really think that someone rising from the dead and condemning this chasm between the rich and the poor, and preaching universal brotherhood, will have greater effect? I tell you solemnly, the Son of Man will rise from the dead and warn men of the dangers of unjustly hoarded wealth, and the neglect of the majority of the suffering and silent poor in the world. It pains my heart to foresee that his warning will fall into deaf years. I hardly see a world becoming one family, with one Father. I only hope that my own close disciples and my Church will do something to create this Kingdom of justice, peace and fraternity.” 25

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ust 30 years old, Fr John Paul Swaminathan, a young Salesian missionary in France, received three film awards last December for his short film “ALIVE: Death Does Not Stop Life”.

As I write, news came that ALIVE is selected by the prestigious Cannes Film Festival for Special Screening from 16 to 22 May 2017 organized by Short Film Corner Committee with invitation for director to present the film during the festival. The prestigious awards received last December include: Albert R. Broccoli Award, Best Student Short Film, and Best Sound Awards at the film fest organized by EICAR in collaboration with “La Cinématheque Française” and the Ministry of Culture and Development in France. Albert R. Broccoli, the patron of the award, was an American film producer, co-founder of Danjag, LLC and EON productions and producer of the JAMES BOND film series. The awards were judged by a jury composed of Hollywood and French cinema celebrities.

The Salesian Provincial of France and South Belgium, Fr. Daniel Federspiel, along with some Salesians and some 600 cine enthusiasts witnessed the award ceremony. John Paul pursues masters degree in film direction and produce movies for European televisions at the “EICAR”, the International Film School of Paris.

Born in 1987 at Fisherpatnam in Tamil Nadu, John Paul holds bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, English Literature, and a diploma in Theology. Professed in 2006, John Paul went to France in 2011 after completing two years of practical training. The Salesian Bulletin


With a background in documentary and commercial film work in India, John Paul has strong social commitment and knowledge of cinema coupled with special experience in working with marginalized youth in both India and France.

Speaking after the award ceremony John Paul says, “I feel happy as a priest [to be] able to inspire mass audience in seven minutes and am convinced that God wants us to use the powerful means of visual media in a responsible way to love one another.”

The short film ALIVE is about a humble janitor who unexpectedly becomes a hero in face of the violent terrorist attack at The Bataclan Concert Hall in Paris on 13th November 2015. In the short film John Paul poses the question: “Why some people live as though they are already dead. Again, some others are really dead but we feel and believe that they are alive.” Through the film he affirms his belief that, “Heroes are not born rather they become. Every human person is capable of becoming a hero.”

John Paul recalls the impact of the Concert Hall attack in Paris on 14th November 2015 saying, “It was early morning, around 6:15 AM. I was near to the Bataclan – Concert Hall. The place was very silent after a hard and most unwanted night of terrorist attack. Silently the police / doctors / nurses and helpers were removing the dead bodies from the attack place and placing them in different vehicles. They worked very fast because the sun was rising little by little. May be they wanted to avoid Media glare / TV channels which could bring visuals of the tragedy to everyone and make everybody much more frightened.” John Paul juxtaposes this tragic scene with another experience he had way back to 2004 – when south India witnessed the pain of Tsunami when Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal made a MARCH 2017

surprise and dangerous areas of south India.

attack on the coastal

He continues the narration saying, “The tidal waves spent only 1 minute and 34 seconds to say hello to the local people enjoying the unusual phenomena of receding waters leaving behind a beach full of live fish with some 8,000 dead human bodies strewn around.”

John Paul recalls, “A day later at Bataclan, on 14th November 201 around 7:30 AM, somebody touched me, I turned back and I saw the police asking me to leave that area.” “After few days, since I am a catholic priest, I was asked to prepare the Christian funeral for the families who lost their loved ones in the attack. After the service, I met few families, especially some young people.” Bereaving people asked me many questions.

Two questions lingered in my heart: Why did God not come for help? I am very sad but I am proud because I heard that my son died while saving someone that he never met before… I miss MARCH 2017

my son, but I believe that he is alive. Am I correct, father?” Then… he started crying!

These two questions are the reasons behind the story of ALIVE. This film aims at bringing healing to the wounded and inspiring believers to love humanity. (Watch the teaser of ALIVE: https://

Commenting on his film crew which consisted of members belonging to 15 different nationalities and representing Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Atheist backgrounds John Paul recalls Don Bosco who “in his first oratory had collaborators from all religious backgrounds to work for the common good of humanity. This approach paved the way to the ALIVE crew members, an effort for a new way of relating to the world. The teamwork was the success of the film.” (Watch the making of – ALIVE: Giving a hint of his future ministry John Paul is convinced, “I want to inspire the world towards peace and healing and encourage living together as one human family.” 27

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In this exclusive and unique article Sathish Kumar Thiyagararajan, an ex-salesian, who is Educational Pedagogue holding an important post in Educational start-ups in India and collaborating with established companies in United Kingdom is overwhelmed to find parts of Salesian Pedagogy in all the new age start-ups. He is also calling on the Salesians of Don Bosco to update and stay relevant for the new age kids within the parametres of the Salesian Pedagogy. He currently lives in Bangalore. Email:


hese are interesting times to be a global citizen mindfully living in the Indian subcontinent. We are at the crossroads of advancement, innovation, and creativity in every field. More than ever, there has been a renewed consciousness and responsibility toward humanity’s future; we welcome critical thinking and constantly review our (old) ideas in-practice to improve them. The freshness experienced in every sector evidences the entrepreneurial spirit with its ground-breaking innovations in the diverse spheres of life. Among all the sectors, ‘education’ seems to have occupied the centre stage of innovation, second only to ‘science & technology’. Googlearound, you would find unusual dynamism around The Salesian Bulletin


education. People are thinking about it: talking, sharing, discussing, promoting, implementing, and buying new ideas in the vertical from Child Care/ Education of Infants to Online Learning of Adults in this infotech-era.

The outrageously popular talk by Ken Robinson’s “Does School Kill Creativity” continues to be one of the most viewed TED talk with over 43.5 million views1. He has even published a book titled Creative Schools responding to people’s queries on the talk. Education Psychology has never been more popular than now with everyone attending to ‘parenting’, school education and higher education. Any serious thinking about the 1

See schools_kill_creativity accessed on 19 Feb. 17.

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importance of integral-formation of a child is only a click away. The world is groping on topics like ‘Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child’, ‘Building a Strong Child’, ‘Preparing our Kids for Life not Standardized Tests’, ‘Toxic Culture of Education’, and ‘Happiness 101: Lessons about the Habits of Happiness’ to mention of few. You can look for these talks in the YouTube and other related topics. Psychologists and research scientists are showing keen interest to inform education with their new findings. Martin Seligman, Howard Gardner, Steven Pinker, Gordon H. Bower, Carol Dweck, Angela Duckworth, Paul Tough, and Anna Craft, to mention a few, are actively engaging with school-leaders and government regulatory bodies to transform education institutions as places with a resilient, flourishing, persevering, and growing mindset that children acquire solid mental and emotional abilities besides intellectual formation. Even ‘philosophy’ has finally found its way into primary and high school education. Philosophy for children (P4C)2 has become a note-worthy movement in the western and eastern world.

These ideas are received so well that even the main-stream education system is strenuously exploring possibilities to incorporate them in their system. Finland, for example, has taken a bold step to completely revisit the content and method of education as a nation.3 Other Nordic countries are no exception. In the west and south-east Asian countries, there is marked openness to tune-in their curriculum, teachers, and their environment around the new insights from psychologists and educationists. Alternative schooling (a child-centred education without the rigidity and universality of the mainstream education) has become so convincing for the ‘informed’ parents that well-known movements like Montessori, Waldorf, RoundSquare, Free/democratic (Summerhill & Sudbury Valley Schools) schools; & Escuelas Nuevas have 2

See and accessed on 19 Feb. 17 3

See accessed on 19 Feb. 17. MARCH 2017

found their way into the mainstream.4 Homeschooling is valued with great awe and respect.5

This is just one side of the story. Believe me, I am not exaggerating the intervention of technology in the education sector is so massive that EdTech is the significant other that continuously reinvents education in the world today. In the past two decades, it has emerged as a power-centre of the future of education (arts, humanities, & sciences) in the world. The market is led by US, UK, India and China. It looks to resolve everything from making you locate the best school for your child to ensure that he/she secures a job and continues to learn as he/she grows in his/her professional life. Some of the most familiar categories are ‘online learning platforms’, ‘learning management systems’ ‘NextGen study tools’ and ‘School Administration’. Khan Academy, Coursera, Kahoot, and Byju’s are a few big names in the global EdTech market. It is pleasantly surprising to know that startups (startups are new businesses that offer tech-based scalable solutions in any sector) like AltSchool, Minerva Project and UniversityNow are aiming to redefine the school/university experience in this era.6 Google has a dedicated research team in the latter segment. What about India? India is perceived as a giant in the global education industry. It has more than 1.4 million schools and 36,000 higher education institutes. Gradually evolving as the largest tertiary age population and second largest graduate talent available, that the value of Indian education market is set to rise to $116.4 billion in this financial year.7 The country has seen remarkable growth 4

Annie Sliwka (2008), “The Contribution of Alternative Education” in Innovating to Learn, Learning to Innovate. 5

Svajunas Grieze (2016), “The Importance of Home Schooling from Physically Enabled Children” see zmtt5r958zmv/the-importance-of-home-schooling-for-mentally-and-physically-enabled-children/ accessed on 19 Feb. 17 6

More on this see accessed on 19 Feb. 17. 7

For the full report see accessed on 19 Feb. 17. 29

The Salesian Bulletin

in the schooling and higher education sectors with private education institutes and ventures mushrooming to cater to nearly a third of the population.1 EdTech India is so-crowded. You name a problem, I promise you have a startup company at your door-step with a solution. If I quickly mention a few names from my acquaintance and classify their sector of operation, it would look like this: Study/Academics/Test Prep – Vednata, Byju, Embibe, Xeed; General Knowledge/Intellectual stuffy – Quizshala (Walnut Knowledge); Games – Nayi Disha, Flinto Box; Hobbies – Qriyo; Language Learning – Culture Alley; Ongoing Learning – SimpliLearn, Schoolguru; Early Childhood Growth and Development – Baby Chakra; Child Health in Schools – Address Health. In the last five years, Indian Education Industry has seen nearly a new company every week with market size touching $2.5 billion this financial year.2

I am already associated with three such start-ups and a global Education Enterprise headquartered in London, while serving full-time in Dolphino – an Early Childhood Care & Education Private Limited. I have the privilege of being on both sides. The world, I would say, is benefitting from the values, aptitudes, and skill-set that the Salesian Educative Environment (the living community) has transferred to me at different phases of my development in our rich tradition. Living and contributing in this vibrant education eco-system ever since I formally departed as a member of the Salesian Congregation in 2014, I believe to be entitled with a unique disposition to do two things: 1) to expose the richness of the

Salesian Education/Formation (education sector) tradition/culture to the world; 2) to update Salesian educative tradition through creative fidelity to the founder blending it with the signs of the times at least for Salesian India – hence, this cover story in Salesian Bulletin (henceforth SB). While, I am aware that it would take more than an article to achieve them, I am happy that SB flags it off with this article. A plain interpretation of the developments in the global and national level unveils five operative principles in the education environment.

Operative Principle #1 - An Awakening and Urgency for Quality Education There is an awakening and urgency towards the need for quality education across all sectors. It is a great joy to see everyone attempting to pitch-in their contribution as a research-scientist, psychologist, educational philosopher/thinker, policy maker, entrepreneur, etc. Operative Principle #2 - An Eco-system that is Flexible (Open to Iterations)

More and more schools are giving up their know-it-all attitude and are now looking to network and collaborate with multiple players in the sector to deliver quality education. Operative Principle #3 - Efforts to de-centralize education to reach distant masses

Technology and the new educational philosophies are going in big way to make customize education to ground zero (the living context of the educand) that there is an ease of access without compromising efficiency.


For a detailed study see accessed on 19 Feb. 17. 2

See accessed on 19 Feb. 17. The Salesian Bulletin


MARCH 2017

Operative Principle #4 - Optimism Enthusiasm from the Stakeholders


Never like before, there is a historical increase in the degree of active participation from parents, youngsters, and children in the content and method of education. The pivot-point has moved from educators to the educand. Operative Principle #5 - Eagerness from Government bodies and Private-sector to act upon the proven/data-driven insights

Government bodies and big players in the private sector are ready to invest on the promising insights to contribute to the growth of the society. I am aware and in a way proud that we (the Salesian Family) have been pioneers in every aspect of the new developments in the education sector. For example, while people are discovering and discussing today that quality education is more than academics instead a cultivation of the mind body, and soul through study, sports, games, psychological interventions in setting up the school/learning culture, health and nutrition initiatives, spirituality, cultural, adventurous, recreational, and other activities, we were already there nearly a century and half before in the first oratory at Valdocco, Turin. An education institution in our Salesian tradition was always a home, school, playground and a church; more so with the preventive system in place3 St. John Bosco 3

Sean Fitzpatrick (2014), “St. John Bosco and the Secret of

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was truly an educator-prophet building a whole system based on 21st century empirical findings in educational psychology.

So it is the case with the new initiatives in Education, we are doing pretty well. We have realized the need for customized learning and the importance of education-for-all. We have our non-formal training institutes and massive skilling initiative like DBTech in India. But, have done it all? Are we consciously responding to the signs of the times? Are we innovative enough? Is there a need to update? Is it time to take stock to leap ahead? These are the important questions that we are faced with as members of the Salesian Family. This becomes all the more important for Salesian India. As it is said, ‘the harvest is full”. If we imagine the world as a community, India would be one of the youngest person in his/her late twenties living in that community.4 There would have been no better time for the Salesian Congregation to be more relevant in the Subcontinent than at present. It is at this historical juncture I invite the Salesian India to come together as a family to revisit, renew, and reclaim its pride by ensuring quality (integral edu-formation) education in all its institutions and by engaging in ground breaking innovations to benefit its multiple stakeholders. Education,” in Crisis Magazine. 4

See accessed on 19 Feb. 17. 31

The Salesian Bulletin


SINGING FOR A CAUSE Playing Guitar on Local Trains to Raise Money for Cancer Patients

Saurabh Nimbkar 23-yearold spends his days playing guitar on local trains in Mumbai so that he can help out cancer patients and their families financially. The young guitarist started out playing guitar to cancer patients admitted in King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital’s cancer ward in 2013. His mother was a patient in the same ward and that probably made him a regular visitor and it led him to using music to cheer up the otherwise morose environ. The money he collects from his performances is given away by him to a local NGO which provides financial support to cancer patients and their families. He currently works in a pharmaceutical company and juggles his time between work and charity.


Stand By Me – A Transgender song to Transform Society

How do you react when you see a transgender on the street or are accosted by one for money? Now, imagine you know him/her from childhood. Would your reaction be different? That’s the crux of Sadhayai Meeri , a musical video written by Vivek, directed by Kiruthiga Udhayanidhi, composed by Santhosh Narayanan of ‘Kabali’ fame. The project has been executed in collaboration with Cheer, an NGO working for their welfare, SPS INDIA Foundation and produced by LYCA Productions. The Salesian Bulletin


SONG ON DEMOCRACY A Powerful Song to Resurrect Dead ‘Democracy’ and She Did It

Sofia Ashraf is known for her firebrand rap songs on issues like Kodaikanal’s pollution caused by Dow chemicals has found her vintage way of protesting to resist the ascendance of Sasikala Natarajan as the chief of AIADMK and the chief minister of Tamil Nadu. She did a “Facebook live” on February 5, 2017 – a typical new media practice to broadcast for free and invite live comments and response. With Suren Vikash U on the guitar, Ashraf and three other awesome women stormed CM Sasikala’s residence and sang “Democracy is dead” outside the gate at Poes Garden, long the residence of J Jayalalithaa and now occupied by Sasikala. Ashraf was categorical, as she minced no words to say lyrically in Tamil that the people didn’t vote for Sasikala and she had no business to be the Tamil Nadu CM. The outpouring of rage was evident as Ashraf voiced what many in the state were seething with. The 4.48-minute musical features about 12 transpeople — there’s an artist, a dancer, an auto driver… each battling societal norms. Kiruthiga Udhayanidhi says “Twice, I stopped someone who was begging and asked them why they did not work. I knew their lives were difficult, but felt they must overcome it. Later, when I met them for the video, I realised how wrong I was and the challenges they face. The idea was to narrate their story and create awareness in the most sensitive way possible.” Ultimately, the song sends out strong messages like ‘We are transgenders, We are human’, ‘All are transgenders physically or emotionally’. Let each one decide his or her gender and the rest add only sweetness to the lives.

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10 Q


Fr. David interviews Mr. Nelson Antony Joachim, the Founder of the ‘Arpurthar Yesu TV’ (Miracle Worker Jesus Television. Mr. Nelson is passionate about his venture and his media mission for the kingdom of God. A Salesian Product has become a model in media ministry.) 1. When did you start your project? On November 1, 2010 Fr. Rayappa, who was then the Parish Priest of Thiruvottiyur in Chennai and Sr. Mary Putti FMA helped me to initiate this project. It was blessed by Fr. Ignatius S.J

2. What inspired you to start this venture? I was a child Labourer I was picked up by Fr. Albert Johnson SDB and was put in Joe Tech Basin Bridge for the non-formal carpentry course. In Joe Tech we were screened the movie Johnny Bosco in Malayalam. It was this movie that inspired me to start something on media and helped me also to change myself completely.

3. What is your background? I am an Anglo Indian, and was born in a very poor family where we were 11 children. We lived in utter poverty and it was Don Bosco fathers who made the difference in my life.

4. How many videos have you uploaded in YouTube? More than 750 videos

5. Do you also have a cable Television? Yes, I run a cable television channel with digital set up box. The coverage reaches Puduchery.

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6. How many viewers do you have? 200,000 viewers

7. How do you manage your finance? I believe in God. I am a product of Don Bosco, as he did great works without anything in hand, I too experience the providence of God.

8. How much does it cost every month? 3.5 lakhs

9. How well your office is established? We have 3 staff and some volunteers, we have a small studio named Madha studio with three small rooms.

10. What is your future plan? I want this channel to become a satellite news channel which will inform people about Christian values. I need 25 crores worth surety. I firmly believe one day God will help to achieve this if this is His will.

11. Can you share something about your family? I am a bachelor, I am looking for someone who can share my life at the same time she should be passionate about God’s work.


The Salesian Bulletin


Watching Less TV

While visiting Cintu’s house, Mintu noticed that he had replaced his usual TV with a smaller model. Thinking that perhaps the larger set has broken down, Mintu asked why the small one was there. “Oh,” Cintu replied, “I have decided to watch less TV.”

The Wife’s Wish

Wife: I wish I was a newspaper so I would be in your hands all day. Husband: I too wish that you were a newspaper so I could have a new one every day.

Smart Husband


eat all this. I want to take it home. Would you be so kind and pack it for me? Waiter: But sir, this is a buffet. Customer (angrily): Pack it up I said!

Wise Cracks

Husband sent a text to wife at night, “Hi I will get home late, please try and wash all my dirty clothes and make sure you prepare my favorite dish before I return.” He sent another text, “I forgot to tell you that I got an increase in my salary, at the end of month I’m getting you a new car” She text back, “Oh My God! Really? Husband Replied: “No I just wanted to make sure you got my previous message.”

The Salesian Bulletin

Pack Up Home

Customer: Waiter? I’m sorry, but I cannot

Only “Itch Guard” can claim that it started it’s business from ‘scratch’. Human-beings get rich as they grow old: Silver in Hair; Gold in Teeth; Sugar in Blood; Precious Stones in Kidney; And a never ending supply of Gas!

Call Him Anything

Teacher: What do you call a

person who cannot hear anything? Little Johnny: You can call him anything, because he cannot hear anything. Teacher: !!!

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WHICH IS BIGGER? 10 OR 50 RUPEES? Jesus and his friends were in a temple. They were watching the people dropping money in the box. Some rich people flung in to the value 50 and 100 Rupees. One Lady came with torn clothes.

She was looking fragile and poor. She put everything she had. It must be equivalent to the value of around 10 Rupees. Jesus told his friends that she was the one who put more money in the box. His friends thought Jesus had gone crazy. They questioned Jesus. Which is bigger? 10 Rupees or 50 and 100 Rupees? Jesus replied that others were rich. They still had more money. But this poor woman put everything she had. She did not have any money left even to eat.

God sees through our heart

Have you put money in the church boxes? MARCH 2017


The Salesian Bulletin

Date of publication: 1st week of every month. Regd. No. TN/CCN//609/2017-2019 & WPP No. TN/PMG (CCR) WPP-339/2017-2019. Registrar of Newspaper for india NO. 1459/1957 Posted at Egmore R.M.S - Pathirikai Channel. 06. 03. 2017

If undelivered kindly return to: The Salesian Bulletin, Bosco, illam 2nd Floor 26/17 Ranganathan Avenue, sylvan Lodge Colony Kelleys, Chennai - 10 The Salesian Bulletin


MARCH 2017

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